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I enjoy nature and being outside so much that, when it came time to naming my graphic design company, there was no other choice but Shadow Oak Studio (since I love everything about tall trees and taking long walks in the woods out back). As a graphic designer, I need to be able to link meaningful visuals with powerful advertising words. Brochures, web ads, flyers, package designs, logos, and even menus need pictures. Stock photography helps me make it all happen! I tend to add in a twist from nature in many of my designs….even if it’s hidden in the back as a surprise. I design a lot of health-related brochures and mail pieces, so nature plays an important role in content in my choices. “Nature and health” is a hot topic these days for many reasons. People are getting healthy by eating the right foods and trying to get outside more so they can exercise and stay in shape. The need for interesting and creative shots of all vegetables, fruits, organic items, herbs, food, health topics, and exercise—just to name a few—are in huge demand and will continue to be. Here are a few ideas on how to shoot some winning stock photography and a couple of tips and tricks on how to use a natural situation to your advantage. PHOTO #1) UNIQUE NATURE SHOT USED TO CREATIVELY MAKE A POINT AND GET THE READER THINKING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION QUICKLY:  This particular cover design called for two sets of clouds to describe the effects of memory loss. Did you ever think that a cloud might make a unique and successful brochure cover design? I used grey and black stormy clouds for the top photo, showing how gloomy and cloudy your brain can be with memory loss. Then, for the second shot, I used more of a sunrise and bright cloud colors to show how you can feel in just one hour with this product. These two cloud photos help me tell the story quickly and effectively. I always look at my designs and ask myself: How effective would this cover or design be without the use of this particular photo? Is the photo helping to get the idea across? Is it confusing the reader? How easy is it to catch on to the main concept? The reader is only going to give us three seconds at most. I have to nail it now with my visual and word combo working together as a strong team. #2) CLOSE-UP SHOTS OF ITEMS IN NATURE SUCH AS FRUITS, FLOWERS, AND TREES WORK WELL FOR MANY FORMATS AND CONCEPTS:  This simple close-up shot of a beautiful and ripe sunflower center worked perfectly for my package design for Moisture Jamzz Spa Gloves and Spa Socks. These particular gloves and socks in this line of products had been created using only organic cotton. My client wanted a new package design and needed it to reflect the unique and natural cloth the items were made from. I tried several natural backgrounds but our top choice look came from the use of this sunflower. The repeat patterns that are found in nature are so unique and stand out from anything you create on your own. There are also various textures and colors only found in natural objects. I tend to try leaves, sky, and fresh crispy patterns first when looking for an interesting concept. Here are a few other nature-inspired photos I’ve used in past designs. The nice thing about doing these types of shots is model release forms are not required for radishes or cranberries, for example, and you don’t have to force natural items to look or smile a certain way! The slice of pomegranate stock photo shown above has appeared in many of my winning designs for one particular product in the health industry for healthy prostates. This is the entire photo, but I take just a slice of it for my back cover sometimes… We use this look as a teaser on the outside of the brochure. I show just enough of the fruit to get your attention but not enough to tip you off to what it truly is that we’re going to tell you about inside. My goal is to get the reader excited by using this stock photo and make them want to read more and maybe order the product. I find it exciting to know that you can shoot these shots right in your own home with things that you might already have in the fridge or in your own backyard! Below are some ideas of content that have been used in very successful sales brochures in the past. Some add in a background, like the farm fresh eggs. And others, like the lovely purple flowers, rely only on the natural colors in nature to make the blossoms stand out. Share on Facebook

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

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